Military News

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Air Force Center Serves Soldiers With Brain Injuries

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - The
Air Force's only traumatic brain injury center, at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, is diagnosing and treating predominantly Army patients with a focus on improving their chances of a full recovery. The center began as an ad-hoc clinic in February 2007 to treat redeploying soldiers at neighboring Fort Richardson, Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Peter Osterbauer, chief of neurology services for the 3rd Medical Group, told American Forces Press Service.

The Army mobilized a team of 13 medical specialists to help the
Air Force screen and treat the 25th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade soldiers for several months after their return from Iraq. Their unit deployed to Iraq as part of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, but was reflagged shortly after its late-2006 redeployment.

Less than two years after its initial standup, the clinic has expanded into a full-fledged TBI center that has treated more than 1,300 patients, Osterbauer said. The center continues to screen about 10 more a week who report on a redeployment survey that they have experienced a head injury or lost consciousness.

A 10-member civilian staff – two neurologists, four medical technicians, a nurse case manager, nurse practitioner, social worker and speech therapist – provides continuity and ensures patients who require additional care receive it quickly and without having to go outside the
military system, he said.

"One of the best things I see of having a designated TBI center is that before, after we screened them, we had to send them [to downtown Anchorage] for cognitive rehabilitation," Osterbauer said. "Now, we're able to treat them here, where I know they patients I care about are getting cared for the way they should."

Traumatic brain injuries typically are caused by a blow or jolt to the head that results from a roadside bomb or other explosive. Victims usually experience double or blurry vision, fatigue, reduced concentration, memory loss, irritability, balance coordination problems and ringing in the ears.

Alaska has the dubious distinction of having more TBI cases than any other state – likely due to its extreme sports culture, Osterbauer said – but servicemembers' injuries often are more serious than those civilians face due to the percussive wave of blasts. "It's like a second hit," he said. "It's not a single injury, but it's magnified."

Osterbauer said he's amazed at the progress many patients show when treated quickly. About 70 percent of patients with mild cases are back to normal within three to six months. Within a year, he said, about 80 percent return to normal.

But about 15 percent of those with TBI won't return to normal functioning.

"That doesn't mean they won't recover some, but they won't get back 100 percent of what they were," Osterbauer said. "My goal is to make sure we give them every opportunity we can to get back to normal, or as normal as they can be."

Africa Command Welcomes Army Component

American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - Southern European Task Force cased its old colors, ending the airborne chapter of its history, and uncased its new colors signifying acceptance of its new mission as the
Army component in support of U.S. Africa Command in a ceremony here today. The ceremony followed an official announcement by the U.S. and Italian governments Dec. 3 in Rome that SETAF would become U.S. Army Africa.

"We are honored and privileged to be the first members of U.S.
Army Africa," Army Maj. Gen. William B. Garrett III, SETAF commanding general, said. "This is a huge responsibility, as our decisions and actions will establish the foundation that others will build upon in the years ahead."

Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, and Army Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S.
Army Europe and 7th Army, attended the ceremony, which highlighted SETAF's long, proud history.

"I welcome all of you to the U.S. Africa Command team," Ward said. "I am confident that this great command is up to the challenge."

Garrett, who was promoted from brigadier general to major general earlier today, said that while SETAF's mission has changed, its relationship with the command's Italian partners will not.

"The enduring relationship between the United States and Italy will only get stronger; new opportunities will spring from common objectives and a shared vision for a prosperous Africa," he said.

SETAF, stationed in Italy since 1955, has a long history of operating on the African continent and working with African nations. During the past 15 years, SETAF has provided crisis response, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance on the continent.

During the next year, SETAF soldiers will learn and grow to lay the foundation for future success as U.S. Army Africa, Garrett said. This foundation includes building and strengthening relationships with African
Army organizations, along with national and international partners, to promote peace, security and stability in Africa, he said.

(From a Southern European Task Force news release.)

Face of Defense: Man Drops More Than 100 Pounds to Join Marines

By Marine Corps Sgt. M. Trent Lowry
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - Before
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Allan Desruisseaux could become a Marine, he had to become a loser. Desruisseaux lost more than 100 pounds between his first visit to a Marine Corps recruiting substation and the day he graduated from Marine recruit training in April 2007, just 10 months later.

"It was one of those 180-degree turnarounds in life," said Desruisseaux, 21, a telephone systems and personal computer repair technician with Regimental Combat Team 5's Provisional Rifle Platoon 3, from Mesa, Ariz.

At 326 pounds, Desruisseaux decided to join the
Marine Corps, but was turned down by recruiters at Recruiting Substation Chandler, Ariz.

Desruisseaux's ex-girlfriend, who had just left him with their infant son, told him he would not be able to make it through boot camp anyway. But instead of giving up, Desruisseaux took the doubt around him and transformed it into motivation.

"I took that as a challenge, and I wanted to prove them all wrong," Desruisseaux said. "I was told it would be impossible for me to join, so I said, 'I'll show you, then!'"

Desruisseaux began a steady regimen of cardiovascular exercise and healthy eating as he worked to obtain his goal of joining the Marines as quickly as possible.

His determination led him to drop 100 pounds in six months.
Desruisseaux returned to the recruiting substation five months after his first visit and watched the Marines' jaws drop. He weighed in at 226 pounds.

"Everyone in there freaked out and couldn't believe it was me," Desruisseaux said. "I had to show my ID, but once I could prove who I was, they were happy to start the enlistment paperwork."

Despite losing the weight, Desruisseaux still faced a physical-fitness challenge. When he originally tried to enlist, he could not complete one dead-hang pull up, and his time in the one-and-a-half-mile run exceeded the required 12 minutes.

Desruisseaux continued to work hard, and by the time he graduated from boot camp, he could do seven pull-ups and run three miles in about 21 and a half minutes. Standing just over 6 feet tall, he weighed in at 189 pounds, which was well under his maximum allowed weight of 208.

"He's not the biggest guy, but he's pretty [strong]," said Sgt. David Lara, 30, a squad leader with PRP-3. "When you used to be over 300 pounds like he was, and now you can regularly crank out 17 pull-ups, that's strong."

Now deployed to Iraq, Desruisseaux said he shocks his family and friends every time he goes home to visit.

"In the states, I do a lot of cardio, because it's running and burning fat, and it's easy to find the time and place to run," he said. "On this deployment, though, I'm trying to gain as much muscle and get as big as possible so people will see the improvement. It's a great feeling when people from home see me and say, 'You look completely different.'"

In Iraq, Desruisseaux is serving as a basic rifleman with the PRP-3.

"He's a good Marine; he does what he's asked and he really knows his stuff," said Cpl. Jordan Carranza, a fire team leader with PRP-3. "He quickly retains the knowledge and utilizes it."

Desruisseaux has embraced his role in the
Marine Corps and is proud of his accomplishments so far. "The Marine Corps has given me a lot of good memories and the opportunity to get my life back on track," he said.

He plans to earn a degree in American history, and said he wants to make a better life for his son, Michael, who just turned 3.

"I love him very much," Desruisseaux said. "It's hard to be away from him, but it's worth it -- the time spent away -- because by being in the
Marine Corps I can help provide for him. He's the only one on my mind right now."

The last step in Desruisseaux's improvement plan is to have surgery to remove excess skin from his heavier days. It is an operation his mother, Lorri, had more than five years ago after she had a similar reduction in weight.

"When I lost the weight, it made me feel good, because I knew my mom was proud," Desruisseaux said. "I feel great. The fact I accomplished this just shows that hard work pays off.

"It's nice to have the help of others, but just because you don't doesn't mean you give up," he said. "Anybody can change their life."

(
Marine Corps Sgt. M. Trent Lowry serves in the Regimental Combat Team 5.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS December 9, 2008

ARMY

Daimler Trucks North America,
Portland, Ore., was awarded on Dec 5, 2008 a $129,424,014 firm fixed price contract for delivery order 0109 adds 603 each, M916A3 Light Equipment Transporters to the original contract. Work will be performed in Portland, Ore., with an estimated completion date of Sept 18, 2009. Bids solicited were via the www and two bids were received. Tacom LCMC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-00-D-S022).

Aimpoint, Chantilly, Va., was awarded on Dec. 4, 2008, a $22,807,398 firm fixed price contract. Work will be performed in Aimpoint Jagershillgatan, Sweden, with an estimated completion date of July 30, 2009. Bids solicited were via Website and one bid was received. Joint Munitions & Lethality Command, Picatinny, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-06-C-0010).

General Atomics, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Dec. 8, 2008 a, $19,946,886 cost plus fixed price contract for research of the primary objective of the Biofuels-Cellulosic and Algal Feedstock program is to develop the technical capability commercial algae production experience, resources, and commitment to demonstrate and ultimately commercialize the affordable production of JP-8 surrogate fuel from algal feedstock . Work will be performed in General Atomics, San Diego, Calif ., Scripps Institutions of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif., Arizona State University, Mesa, Ariz., Blue Sun Biodiesel, Golden, Colo., Martek, Colo., Texas A&M AgriLIFE, College Station, Texas, UOP LLC, Des Plains, Ill., Hawaii Bio Energy, Honolulu, Energy and Environ-metal research Center (Univ of North Dakota), Grand Forks, N. D., and Utah State, Logan, Utah, with an estimated completion date of Jun. 8, 2010. Bids solicited were via the Broad Agency Announcement and seventeen bids were received. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-09-C-0034).

General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc., Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Dec. 5, 2008 a $8,041,451 cost plus fixed price contract for systems technical support (STS) for the Abrams Tank Program to include rest fielding & deprocessing. Work will be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Dec 31, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. Tacom, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-C-0046).

Air Force

The
Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract to Alloy Surface Company, Inc., Chester, Penn. for a Maximum of $51, 887,660. This action will provide spares for the MJU-51 Infrared countermeasure decoy. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. 784 CBSG/PK, Hill AFB, Utah is the contracting activity (FA8213-09-D-0001).

The
Air Force is modifying a Fixed Price Incentive Firm contract with Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif. not to exceed $18,222,000. This action will provide additional long lead associated with 5 Global Hawk Air Vehicles, 2 Ground Segments, 2 EISS and 2 ASIP sensor payloads. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. 303 AESG/PK Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8620-08-C-3001, modification P00005).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Science Application International Corp., Fairfield, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $160,573,654 firm fixed price indefinite quantity contract to support replenishment parts and industrial hardware. Performance locations are Anniston
Army Depot, Anniston, Ala., and Red River Army Depot, Texarkana, Texas, locations directly serving customers worldwide. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Five proposals were originally solicited with five responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Fiscal Year 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Columbus, Columbus, Ohio (SPM7LX-09-D-9005).

Navy

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding – Newport News, Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $12,000,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2100) for emergent and supplemental work for the accomplishment of the fiscal year 2008 Extended Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) of USS Enterprise (CVN 65). The CVN 65 FY08 EDSRA is a ship depot availability of approximately 16-month duration. EDSRAs are similar to overhauls in that they restore the ship, including all subsystems that affect combat capability and safety, to established performance standards. Additionally, an EDSRA provides an opportunity to perform hull inspections and recoating, and other maintenance related evolutions below the waterline that cannot be accomplished while the ship is waterborne. The EDSRA provides sufficient time to perform more extensive propulsion plant repairs and testing than is possible during an Extended Selected Restricted Availability (ESRA). Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by August 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $12,000,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington
Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-08-C-2100).

Kongsberg Maritime, Inc., Houston, Texas, is being awarded an $11,000,000 fixed price, indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract to procure and/or design, develop, and manufacture hardware, logistics support, spares, commercial technical manuals, and associated data related to the manufacture and sustainment of the AMPHIB Low Light Surveillance System Program. Work will be performed in Aberdeen, Scotland, (80 percent); and Lakehurst, N.J., (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-09-D-0088).

Briartek, Inc., Alexandria, Va., is being awarded a $7,000,071 firm fixed price blanket purchase agreement contract for manufacture of man overboard indicator components for use on U.S.
Navy vessels. Work will be performed in Alexandria, Va., and work is expected to be completed by Dec. 2013. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00104-09-A-ZE01).

Electric Boat Corp., (a General Dynamics Company), Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $6,587,708 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-02-C-4063) for operations and maintenance of the Government Owned Contractor Operated drydock Shippingport (ARDM-4). The contractor shall provide operational support, perform organizational level maintenance and preserve the vessel during normal operations, maintain operational support during the vessel's service craft overhaul period, and re-certify the vessel upon completion of its overhaul. Work will be performed in Groton, Conn., (60 percent), and Charleston S.C., (40 percent), and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $6,587,708 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington
Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure, Inc., Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $5,684,296 modification to firm fixed price Task Order FZN1 under previously awarded contract (N62470-08-D-1007) to exercise options 1 and 2 for range clearance at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Ariz. The work to be performed provides for all labor, supervision, engineering, materials, equipment, tools, parts, supplies and transportation to accomplish the surface clearance of range residue from target areas. Work will be performed in Yuma, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by Apr. 2010. The total task order amount after exercise of these options will be $9,956,042. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $5,667,089 firm fixed price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00421-05-G-0001) to provide sustaining engineering support for the Taiwanese
Air Force E-2C Program. Work will be performed in Bethpage, N.Y., and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Gates Meets With Biden, Works for Smooth Transition

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met yesterday with Vice President-elect Joe Biden as he continues to work to ensure the department's transition between the two administrations is as seamless as possible, the Pentagon press secretary said today. Gates also had a working lunch with leaders of the president-elect's transition team today, Geoff Morrell said at a Pentagon briefing.

Gates' talks with the team are not yet aimed at tackling specific issues, but rather are dealing with the transition process, Morrell said.

"Right now this is about establishing a team, building the construct in which they will work and moving forward from there. But we're still at the early stages of this process," Morrell said.

Morrell emphasized, though, that Gates' priority is working with the current administration to ensure national security.

Morrell was questioned during the briefing about possible U.S.
military assistance to India in response to the terrorist attacks in its financial capital of Mumbai two weeks ago.

Gates condemned the attacks last week as
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with senior Pakistani officials in Islamabad, pressing them to explore any ties between the attacks and groups based in Pakistan. The attacks left nearly 200 people dead.

Morrell said India has not asked for U.S.
military assistance, but that Pentagon officials are in close discussion with the militaries of both India and Pakistan.

"I think ... the problems that we have emanating from Pakistan terror-wise show us ... that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with on a sustained basis," Morrell said. "That it can't be done in fits and starts, that there needs to be a constant and vigilant effort to go after the terrorist networks that exist there and throughout the region."

Morrell also fielded several questions about the possibility of closing the U.S.
military detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Morrell reiterated Gates' position that it would be best to see the facility closed, but said new legislation is needed to determine the disposition of detainees and that there are no immediate plans to close the facility.

Morrell called the detainees there "dangerous."

"If they haven't killed Americans, they have made it clear that it is their desire to do so. So we need to provide for what would happen to these people ... should they be transferred stateside," Morrell said.

The press secretary also addressed an impending DoD Inspector General's report yet to be released concerning the Marine Corps' responsiveness in 2005 to requests by commanders in the field asking for more mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.

A brief of the report was released on the IG's Web site today stating that DoD officials were aware of the threat posed by mines and improvised explosive devices in low-intensity conflicts and the availability of mine-resistant vehicles before insurgent actions began in Iraq in 2003. But, it claims, the DoD did not develop requirements for, fund, or buy MRAP-type vehicles for low-intensity missions.

Morrell said there was an evolution of the threat in the combat theater. Larger, more heavily armored vehicles were used at the start of the war, and as the mission changed, the vehicle types were scaled down. But, as the enemy saw the U.S.
military using lighter vehicles, it started hitting harder with roadside bombs, he explained.

As the U.S.
military reinforced its Humvees, the insurgents again modified their tactics to used deeply buried IEDs that exploded underneath the Humvees striking the less-armored belly.

In May 2007, Gates made purchasing MRAPs a Defense Department priority and has spent $22 billion in the past 18 months to put 12,000 MRAPs in theater, Morrell said.

"We've seen the enemy adapt to us, and we've had to adapt to them," he told reporters. "As the threat has evolved, so have our force-protection measures."

Morrell conceded that department officials would have liked to have moved faster or more efficiently at times, but he said there was no implied neglect.

"To suggest that there was any sort of neglect or people were sitting on their hands ignoring the urgent requests of commanders in the field is just not accurate," Morrell said. He called the Defense Department's efforts "herculean" in ensuring U.S. troops have best possible protection.

Morrell also said DoD is trying to get more MRAPs into Afghanistan, and that officials are looking to build a lighter version of the vehicle to deal better with the rugged Afghan terrain.

Today's More Capable Military Must Continue Worldwide Offensive, Bush Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - In his last scheduled visit to a service academy while in office, President George W. Bush told
Army cadets today that the U.S. military has transformed to face threats it faces now and in the future. Bush charted the progress of his administration in the war on terror and spoke of what remains to be done in a half-hour address at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

The president said that as the
Cold War was ending, another war against extremists was beginning.

"In hidden corners of the world, violent religious extremists were plotting ways to advance their radical aims and their grim ideology," he said.

Terror attacks against the World Trade Center in 1993, against Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the strike on the USS Cole were part of this war. But it wasn't until Sept. 11, 2001, that Americans woke to the fact that hostilities had started. The attacks in New York and Washington were just one part of the terror campaign, Bush said.

"In the space of a single morning, we realized that we were facing a worldwide movement of fanatics pledged to our destruction," he said. "We saw that conditions of repression and despair on the other side of the world could bring suffering and death to our own streets."

All of America's might had to be concentrated against such an onslaught, and the U.S. government and international partners worked together in ways unthinkable a few years before, the president said.

"Here at home, we hardened our defenses and created the Department of Homeland Security," Bush said. He pointed to the Patriot Act, reorganization in the intelligence agencies and increased financial pressures as other examples.

"We also made dramatic changes to our military strategy and the military itself," he said. "We resolved that we would not wait to be attacked again, and so we went on the offense against the terrorists overseas so we would not have to face them here at home."

U.S. servicemembers and their diplomatic colleagues worked with allies to strengthen their counterterrorism capabilities, Bush said.

"We understood that if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long," he said. "So we made clear that hostile regimes sponsoring terror or pursuing weapons of mass destruction would be held to account." American diplomats also engaged in efforts "to discredit the hateful vision of the extremists and advance the hopeful alternative of freedom," said he added.

Bush said the first order after Sept. 11 was to take the fight to the enemy, he said.

"From the Horn of Africa to the islands of Southeast Asia to wherever these thugs hide, we and our allies have applied the full range of military and intelligence assets to keep unrelenting pressure on al-Qaida and its affiliates," he said.

The efforts have weakened the terrorists, but Osama bin Laden remains at large and extremists still can launch attacks such as the one in Mumbai, India, last month, Bush said.

"Yet, [the terrorists] are facing pressures so intense that the only way they can stay alive is to stay underground," Bush said. "The day will come. The day will come when they receive the justice they deserve."

Intelligence sharing and counterterrorism training became buzz words around the world, and the United States worked with a range of allies who have made enormous contributions in the war on terror, Bush said.

"One of the most important challenges we will face, and you will face in the years ahead, is helping our partners assert control over ungoverned spaces," he told the cadets. "The problem is most pronounced in Pakistan, where areas along the Afghanistan border are home to Taliban and to al-Qaida fighters. The Pakistani government and people understand the threat, because they have been victims of terror themselves."

The United States stands ready to help to train Pakistani security forces, the president said. "And at the same time, we have made it clear to Pakistan and to all our partners that we will do what is necessary to protect American troops and the American people," he said.

U.S. friends and foes around the world agree that governments that sponsor terror are as guilty as the terrorists and will be held accountable, Bush said. In Afghanistan, it resulted in a U.S.-led coalition ousting the Taliban and shutting down al-Qaida training camps, he said.

"Now, America and our 25 NATO allies and 17 partner nations are standing with the Afghan people as they defend their free society," he said.

Iraq also posed a danger, Bush said. "After seeing the destruction of Sept. 11, we concluded that America could not afford to allow a regime with such a threatening and violent record to remain in the heart of the Middle East. So we offered Saddam Hussein a final chance to peacefully resolve the issue. And when he refused, we acted with a coalition of nations to protect our people, and liberated 25 million Iraqis."

The fight in Iraq has been longer and tougher than expected, Bush said. In 2006, in fact, the nation was on the verge of civil war.

"So we adopted a new strategy, and rather than retreating, sent more troops into Baghdad and Iraq," he said. "And when the surge met its objective, we began to bring our troops home under a policy of return on success."

American leaders recognize long-term solutions are needed to turn people away from joining the terrorists, Bush said.

"When we overthrew the dictators in Afghanistan and Iraq, we refused to take the easy option and install friendly strongmen in their place," he said. "Instead, we're doing the tough work of helping democratic societies emerge as examples for people all across the Middle East."

A final peg in the new strategy is the transformation of the military, Bush said.

"This transformation was a top priority for the enterprising leader who served as my first secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld," he said. "Today, because of his
leadership and the leadership of Secretary Bob Gates, we have made our military better trained, better equipped and better prepared to meet the threats facing America today and tomorrow and long in the future."

Troops have real-time battlefield intelligence capabilities that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, Bush said. In Iraq and Afghanistan, troops use global positioning systems to direct air strikes that take out the enemy while sparing innocent life, he said.

More special operations forces are needed in the global war on terror, and the military is getting them, Bush said.

"Over the past eight years, we have more than doubled funding for special operators," he said. "We created the first-ever special operations command within the Marines. We have given [U.S.] Special Operations Command the lead role in the global war against the terrorists."

New ways of mixing civilian and military capabilities, such as the provincial reconstruction teams in Iraq and Afghanistan, have a long-term affect on the fight, Bush said.

"In both Iraq and Afghanistan, these teams are helping local communities create jobs and deliver basic services and keep the terrorists from coming back," he said.

Conventional forces also are changing. "We have begun the most sweeping transformation of America's global force posture since the end of World War II," Bush said. Troops now can surge more rapidly to trouble spots around the world, he added.

"We've established new military commands to meet challenges unique to Africa and to support our homeland," Bush said. "We've invested more than a half trillion dollars in research and development so we can build even more advanced capabilities to protect America from the dangers of a new century."

The United States put in place limited missile defense and is working with Russia to draw down nuclear weapons, he said.

"These reductions are part of a new approach to strategic deterrence that relies on both nuclear and conventional strike forces as well as strong defenses," he said. "This approach sends a clear message to the world. We will reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons, while keeping America's strategic deterrents unchallenged."

The U.S. military is stronger today than it was eight years ago, Bush said.

"In the years ahead, our nation must continue developing the capabilities to take the fight to our enemies across the world," he said. "We must stay on the offensive. We must be determined and we must be relentless to do our duty to protect the American people from harm."

University Provides Care for Wounded Warriors

By Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - Wounded servicemembers are finding an unlikely resource for care at
Arkansas State University in a new program officials there hope will catch on at other college campuses. Susan Tonymon, director of the Beck Pride Center at the university's Jonesboro campus, described the program in an "ASY Live" interview on BlogTalkRadio.com.

The university opened the center in October 2007 as a supplement to Veterans Affairs programs, Tonymon said. The campus is an ideal place to reach out to wounded troops, she said.

"
Arkansas State University is a very military-friendly campus," Tonymon said. With a National Guard armory on campus, an ROTC program and the development of a student veterans group, the campus "provides a service for them to connect with others in this area for social interaction and cohesiveness."

The center provides services such as physical and occupational therapy, mental health counseling and social services to combat-injured servicemembers, veterans and their families. It was funded for 50 participants and now has 62, Tonymon said.

"We don't want to duplicate a service," Tonymon said. "Many of our servicemembers have heard about the vet centers, but sometimes they are too far away and they will choose to come to a center on our campus."

Participants often go to
Arkansas State for services not offered at VA centers near them, Tonymon said. And, with mental health providers trained to help combat veterans, they find the care specific to their needs.

Most participants come from outside the Jonesboro area, some from as far away as California and Washington state, to take advantage of the program's unique opportunities, Tonymon said.

Program officials recently helped a wounded warrior relocate to Jonesboro from Missouri, where he faced a 70-mile commute to the nearest VA center. The center provided him with temporary housing and got him financial resources because he had not yet been discharged from the
military, Tonymon said.

"We have an area on campus where
military servicemembers can live in a community with day care and get physical therapy right here on campus," she said.

Tonymon said she is interested in helping other campuses start their own programs.

"Universities like
Arkansas State are in a unique position to help, mainly because we can centralize many of the services that the wounded servicemember may need for recovery," she said. "The university itself provides a safe therapeutic and healing environment."

(Jamie Findlater works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Pentagon Channel's 'Grill Sergeants' Becomes Hot iTunes Commodity

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - If one of the Pentagon Channel's newest programs was a hot Apple iTunes download before, it'll be on fire in the near future. The company recently named "The Grill Sergeants" one of its top 25 videos of the year. It's currently ranked as No. 13.

"We were pretty excited. Obviously, it's great to get recognition for your programming," said Michael Winneker, the Pentagon Channel's distribution and marketing manager. "We always know around here that it's good, ... but it's kind of nice to hear from other listeners or viewers that the programming is good and people are interested in it."

Apple iTunes divides its podcasts into categories. "The Grill Sergeants" is found in the "Government and Organizations" section, where it usually enjoys a Top 5 placement.

Winneker attributes the iTunes accolades to a current interest in both cooking shows and the
military.

"I think people, traditionally, when they think of
military cooking they think of the chow hall and someone with an ice cream scooper of mashed potatoes and they're slamming it down on the tray," he said. "I think this show proves that we do have some great military chefs out there, and some great food and great recipes that anyone can pick up."

"The Grill Sergeants," which is five episodes into its second season, is hosted by
Army Sgt. 1st Class Brad Turner, a New Orleans native.

An aficionado of many cuisines, Turner was chosen as an apprentice to the U.S.
Army Culinary Team while stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga. Later, he apprenticed with German master chef Hans Bauer in Amberg, Germany.

After being reassigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, Turner helped to establish the Fort Bliss Culinary Program.

But it's not only Turner's pots and pans that have put him in the spotlight. It seems he's got a set of pipes, too. The chef loves to sing while he cooks, and even won the title of 2007 Fort Lee (Va.)
military Idol.

Turner now is stationed at Camp Stanley, South Korea, where he serves as the dining facility manager at the Stanley Gardens Restaurant. The father of seven says his motto is "Share your love, share your food."

"The Grill Sergeants" airs on the Pentagon Channel at noon EST on Mondays. Past episodes are available for download from the Pentagon Channel's Web site, as well as iTunes. The Pentagon Channel also makes available for download podcasts of 16 other programs and 10 audio podcasts, all of which are free, Winneker said.

Financial Crisis Affects Defense Department, Chairman Says

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - Though the extent of its impact is not yet clear, the Defense Department will feel effects from the current financial crisis, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told about 500 airmen here yesterday. "The global financial crisis is going to have an effect on us in the
military, and I've thought that for months," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said. "To the degree that this financial crisis has an impact on us, and it will, I worry about an increased level of insecurity [and] instability around the world."

Since 2000, the Defense Department's budget has increased steadily to more than $715 billion for fiscal 2009. But the chairman said he expects DoD will have to "start tightening our belt" and making adjustments.

"It's going to take a very healthy debate about what it's going to take to provide for our national security during these very challenging times," Mullen said. "We've got to get our arms around this."

The department is going to have to start trying to reduce costs, he said, citing uncertainty over how quickly the financial impact will settle in. "It's certainly too early to determine, but I think it's virtually certain that it will have an impact on us," he said.

"We need to pay an awful lot of attention to that," he continued. "I clearly think it's going to impact the Department of Defense, but I don't know the specifics of that at this particular point in time and how the new administration will address this."

But as officials scrutinize future budget requests, Mullen said, the
military can't afford to lose sight of caring for its members, whom he regularly calls DoD's most important resource. He noted dramatic improvements in the last 10 years in pay and benefits, veteran compensation, health care and family care programs.

"We've got a chance to get this right," he said, remembering the inadequate care Vietnam veterans received until recently. "We've got huge challenges in health care, just like the rest of the country, [and] like other organizations throughout the country and throughout the world, we're going to have to get a handle on this."

Air Force Staff Sgt. Adam Rosen of the 1st Component Maintenance Squadron here is an unmarried airman who said he feels the effects of the weakening economy, but not as much as others with families to support.

"Obviously, the economy is not going to be a quick fix, but it's reassuring that the senior
leadership recognizes the issues," Rosen said. "Hopefully, we can continue our missions around the world without significant setbacks."

Three Dead, One Missing in San Diego Crash

American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - The crash of a Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter jet in San Diego yesterday killed three people on the ground, and one person is missing, city fire officials said. The Hornet, from Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 101 of Marine Aircraft Group 11, crashed into two houses after going down around noon PST in a neighborhood near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, officials said.

The pilot is in stable condition at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Marine officials said.

The pilot – part of the 3rd Marine Air Wing – radioed that there was trouble and tried to steer the aircraft to an uninhabited canyon, Marine officials said. But the pilot was forced to eject, and the jet crashed two miles from the airport, they said.

The jet was returning from training exercises aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln when the crash occurred.

Mullen Salutes Servicemembers' Success at Awards Dinner

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 9, 2008 - U.S. troops engaged in the global war on
terrorism are doing "an exceptionally hard job exceptionally well," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs' annual awards dinner held here yesterday. "I believe our future is tied, as it always must be, to the young people who are in the fight right now," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said. Mullen received the institute's Jackson award, named after the late U.S. Sen. Henry M. Jackson, a staunch supporter of America's friendship with Israel. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates received the Jackson award last year.

Senior U.S. civilian and military leaders are focused on "driving hard for final success in Iraq [and] turning it around in Afghanistan," Mullen said.

At the same time, defense leaders remain committed to supporting the military families "of those who have borne the battle," Mullen said, noting he is working to provide more time at home for troops between duty assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The U.S. military also is focused on providing "a lifetime of care to the wounded and the families of the fallen," he said.

Today's generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen want "leaders who will listen" and "challenging assignments of value, learning and building on the satisfaction that they've achieved by doing an exceptionally hard job exceptionally well," the chairman said.

Servicemembers who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq also want to lead, Mullen said, noting they've been shaped by experiences different from those encountered during his service as a young officer during the Vietnam War and the subsequent military cutbacks in the 1970s.

Today's troops have achieved great success in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mullen said, and they "are truly appreciated and trusted by the American public."

As the war in Iraq winds down, U.S. servicemembers will experience "the prospect of a long, tough duty ahead, as we turn our full attention to the hills of Afghanistan, as we must," Mullen said.

The war against terror isn't over, Mullen said, citing the Nov. 26 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India. The four-star admiral recently returned from a visit to Pakistan – believed to be where the Mumbai attackers made their plans -- where he encouraged senior Pakistani leaders to take a firmer role in confronting militant extremists operating in their country.

"We are working to prevent Nov. 26 from becoming a tipping point towards chaos in the region, by confronting once again a common enemy," Mullen said. "Both India and Pakistan are increasingly targeted by terror, just as we have been, and the futures of these nations are bonded, just as our future is with theirs."

Investigations of the Mumbai attacks indicate a new level of terrorist sophistication, Mullen said, noting the attackers employed global positioning systems and satellite phones while committing mayhem that killed more than 200 people.

"This is an evil in the sight of our world, and the only way to face it is to face it with united determination, with every aspect of our influence and power, and with all possible urgency," Mullen said. "This wasn't just an attack on Indians, or Americans or Brits or even Jews; it was, rather, an attack on all of us who love the sacred dignity of human life."

As the war against
terrorism continues, it's time to prepare young military leaders for greater responsibilities and higher rank as part of "their turn at the tiller of history, for they've earned it," Mullen said.

Military-support groups, such as JINSA, help foster closer civilian understanding of national security matters "and unite us in common purpose, thought and deed," he said.

Earlier in the evening, Mullen saluted six servicemembers who received the institute's 2008 Grateful Nation award for outstanding service during the war on
terrorism. The awardees are:

-- Army Sgt. Monica L. Brown;

-- Marine Staff Sgt. Phillip J. Anderson;

--
Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Douglas Day;

--
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Eric S. Bernstein;

-- Air Force Master Sgt. Edward A. Tillman III; and

-- Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary J. Rhyner.

The six military awardees are "very, very special people," Mullen said. They were selected by their service branches.

"They represent the best military that I have been associated with in the over four decades that I've had the privilege to serve," Mullen said of the awardees.

Brown, a combat medic who earned the Silver Star for gallantry during action against enemy forces in Afghanistan in 2007, said she feels honored to receive the Grateful Nation award.

"There's a lot of history behind this organization," Brown said of JINSA's long-time support on behalf of servicemembers and the U.S. military. Therefore, being a recipient of the institute's Grateful Nation award "means a lot to me," she added.